Last night, we left the sweltering heat of the football stadium ready for the hike back to our car on 97th Street. We took a shortcut, wandering down a nearby avenue, my heart deflated, a young girl, unsupervised with matted hair, filthy, in nothing but a day old pull up diaper. She played in her front yard, crouched quietly playing with a little stick, ignoring the traffic of pedestrians that bustled by in the heat of the night.
I felt a pang of guilt in my heart, turning the other way pretending not to see this child of obvious neglect. My eight year old son looked at me wide-eyed, “Mom, you would never leave us outside this late, with all these people walking by. Especially, in nothing but a dirty diaper. That’s just wrong!”
It occurred to me if my eight year old son was aware enough to notice the implications of child neglect. Why were all of us walking past this house ignoring the poverty and neglect of this child? How do you separate yourself from this situation?
My husband saw that look in my eye and reminded me, “It’s not your problem.”
I took a deep breath, “So whose problem is it? Is it that child’s problem? Is it her fault that she was born into this poverty? Is it her fault that there is no adult in her life with enough sense to bathe her, brush her hair, and ensure she wears clean pull-up’s? It’s not the child’s problem! Whose problem is it?”
“Well what do you plan on doing? Knocking on their door and telling them that their child needs to be bathed, clothed, fed, and supervised?”
We both knew that wasn’t going to happen.
“I’ll take care of it in the morning and phone child services.”
I felt this child had no voice and naively believed maybe if I took the time as concerned citizen to report this incident –maybe this one child would have the chance for a happy childhood and a brighter future.
My optimistic spirit for this child was crushed this morning. I contacted the hotline and they told me next time to contact the police. I then received a barrage of excuses on why they wouldn’t investigate. They suggested the house may have been an apartment – no real proof of address. It was also pointed out I didn’t know the victim. I received excuse after excuse why this household could not be investigated.
Perhaps, it’s not the wisest to have faith in an underfunded, over burdened system. But I was acting as a concerned citizen. That child has no voice! When will it be time we wake-up to help those children who are neglected and in need of a good home. If we constantly turn a blind eye to these children they will fall through the cracks only to reaffirm the cyclical system of child neglect and abuse.
Darcie Cameron is a RYT 200 who believes Yoga is a gift that is accessible to everyone with proper modifications, a patient smile and just taking the time to breathe. One of the greatest presents you will ever unwrap is when you connect your mind, body and spirit in perfect sync with your own breath. Connect with Darcie on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/darciecameronlovesyoga